This is a poem my friend Jeet Thayil sent me a little over a year ago. I remembered it now after an event that still seems impossible, unreal. Jeet's wife Shakti, beautiful, talented, vivacious Shakti, died suddenly last week. She was barely 25.
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR WIFE, THE DANCER?
When it rains, the dead descend.
You appear,so real I can smell the rainwater in your hair,
can touch the circle I placed on your finger.
And the box that our future was wrapped in,
does the scent of happiness still linger
on the paper, the velvet, the ribbon?
Your lips, clear of the color you always wear,
are not new to me, they're lovely and bare;
and our old argument still turns, it burns.
How soon will you forget me if I die?
By the water in my eye and the way it returns,I swear:
If I forget you, let the world die.
When it rains, the dead ascend. You disappear
where I can't follow: into the upper air.